Date: January 22, 2017
GOODBYE NETS AND BOATS
SCRIPTURE: ISAIAH 9: 1
4; MATTHEW 4: 12
GRACE COVENANT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, ASHEVILLE, NC
January 22, 2017
The Rev. Dr. Marcia Mount Shoop, Pastor
In 1999 Eric and Phillipa Kempson decided to make a change in their lives.
They wanted out of the rat race. And they had fallen in love with the island of
Lesbos while there on vacation.
They had dreams of a simple life. Eric, an artist, would carve things out of olive
and sell boutique
They would have a quiet life
heir baby girl. And so th
ey left their life in
England, they no doubt let go of many things
friends, possessions, home.
And they built their life on the shores of Lesbos.
17 years. What mak
es up an everyday for the Kempsons now?
Eric stands with his binoculars scanning the waters for the Coast Guard or for any
sign of the flimsy buoys he can spot now with such precision. Phillipa coordinates
food, clothing donations, and make shift camps.
Their daughter, now 17, is back in
the UK because of all the death threats that Eric and Phillipa receive on a regular
basis. Far from the quiet life they had planned on for their family, Eric and Phillipa
spend their days as fishers of
They actually enter the cold waters and fish out babies, pregnant women, old men,
people so desperate to find refuge from the warzones that
use to be their homes, that they have risked everything to find a way to have a new
on the beach in Lesbos literally occupy
common space with Syrian
who kiss the ground and weep
because such treacherous conditions are,
they hope, behind them.
The Kempsons give these exhausted people
apples and help them figure out where
they can go
from that shoreline
. And the Kempsons
are harassed and threatened by
who just want the refugees to go away.
“I will make you
4:18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called
Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen.
4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”
4:20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
4:21 As he went from there, he saw two
other brothers, James son of Zebedee and
his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he
4:22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
The most j
arring word in this
story is “im
Just take that in for a minute.
lar day and a stranger comes up
“Follow me.” You don’t know
where you are going.
, you say goodbye to all you have known and follow.
This is Jesus’ fir
And there is no way for us to get our minds around it.
But, if not for IMMEDIATELY, you and I, we would not be sitting here together at
listening for God’s word, watching for Jesus’ footsteps to follow in.
The church was born on that sandy shore with IMMEDIATELY.
There is a lot we do not know about this moment in time on the shores in Galilee.
Jesus has withdrawn
his friend John
arrested. Jesus knew things were
He does not go
goes to a new place and
His answer to the growing hostility
and John’s arrest was
to go to a place full of
and reach out to heal old wounds
not just Jewish strangers, but Gentiles